South Carolinians say Republicans are to blame for a 16-day partial government shutdown that closed national parks, choked off government benefits and kept thousands of federal workers home without a paycheck.
According to a new poll by Winthrop University’s political science department, 47 percent of state residents blame congressional Republicans for a government ground to a halt, while nearly 29 percent say it was Democratic President Barack Obama’s fault; 20 percent blamed them equally.
Meanwhile, approval ratings for Congress and the president sank to their lowest levels since the Winthrop Poll began tracking them. Obama has a nearly 41 percent approval rating here while only 7 percent give Congress a thumbs up.
If those numbers depress you, you won’t have much support if your idea of lightening the mood is sparking up a joint. A little more than half of South Carolinians believe adults smoking marijuana is unacceptable, according to the poll. On other social issues, half of those surveyed believe having a child out of wedlock is OK, and an overwhelming number have no problems with interracial marriage.
When it comes to South Carolina politicians, Republican Gov. Nikki Haley’s approval rating ticked up slightly, while GOP U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham saw his support erode within his party. Both are up for re-election in 2014 in this heavily conservative state.
Graham saw his approval rating drop from the February Winthrop Poll from 71.6 percent among Republicans and independents who lean toward the GOP to 45.2 percent. Among registered voters, his approval rating is 37.4 percent, the poll found.
As for the state’s other U.S. senator, Republican Tim Scott “remains a mystery to many residents,” with nearly a third unsure of him, the poll found. Haley appointed Scott to Jim DeMint’s seat after DeMint resigned. Among Republicans, though, Scott has a nearly 54 percent approval rating.
South Carolina is a deep red state, but that doesn’t mean the national Republican Party has blind support here, according to the poll. Among those who consider themselves Republicans or lean toward the GOP, 45 percent view the party favorably while a quarter of them are neutral and another quarter are negative. That said, Republicans and GOP leaners here view the state party in a much more favorable light. That’s in contrast to in-state Democrats and those who lean Democratic, where more than 60 percent support the national party.
Over the past year or so, support for the Tea Party movement has been dropping in South Carolina, but it seems to have flatlined among Republicans. In general, 28 percent of South Carolina residents view the movement positively.
Winthrop’s general population poll reached 887 respondents living in South Carolina between Oct. 19 through 27. All adults over 18 had an equal chance of being surveyed.
“Although many campaign professionals attempt to dismiss general population polls, instead favoring ‘likely voter’ polls only, we believe that the voices of all South Carolinians should be heard on a regular basis, not just the individuals who help get the bosses of those campaign professionals elected,” said Winthrop political scientist Scott Huffmon, who conducted the poll.
See the full results here.